German automaker Audi is partnering with Google Lunar XPRIZE team Part-Time Scientists on a mission to send a unmanned lunar rover to the Moon: the first privately-funded team to land a rover safely on the Moon wins 30 million dollars.


45 years after NASA's last manned mission to the Moon, the next generation of scientists, engineers, space explorers and adventurers are attempting to reach the same destination. Private teams' task is to send a lunar rover to the moon, land it safely, let it travel 500 meters across the lunar surface and send HD images back to earth. Their incentive is 30 million American dollars

Initially, 34 teams from all over the world accepted this crazy challenge – 16 are still in the race today. AUDI AG is sharing its technological know-how in several fields of technology (from quattro all-wheel drive and lightweight construction to electric mobility and piloted driving) to optimize the "Audi lunar quattro" rover of the Part-Time Scientists, the only German team competing for the Google Lunar XPRIZE.

The Part-Time Scientists' lunar vehicle, which was tested in locations such as the Austrian Alps and Tenerife, is largely made of aluminum. The rover features an adjustable solar panel that captures sunlight and directs it to a lithium-ion battery, feeding four electric wheel hub motors. A head at the front of the vehicle carries two stereoscopic cameras and a scientific camera that examines materials. Theoretically, their rover's maximum speed is 3.6 km/h, but what is more important is the vehicle's off-road capabilities and ability for safe orientation on the rugged surface of the moon and a very unfriendly envirnment, where temperatures fluctuate by up to 300 degrees Celsius.

The Audi lunar quattro lunar vehicle is to be launched into space in 2017 on board a launching rocket. It will travel well over 380,000 kilometers that separate the Earth from the Moon. The trip (which someone who drives a car an average of 15,000 kilometers annually would take over 25 years to cover the same distance) will take about five days. The target landing area is north of the moon's equator, near the 1972 landing site of Apollo 17.

July 15, 2015 Living photo: Audi

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